Ahhhhh, that’s the stuff. That’s The Bachelorette of yore. The sturm und drang of Clare’s mini-season was wild, but in These Troubled Times, sometimes a person just wants to sit back and take in the mess. There is nothing new over the sun, but classics are classics for a reason, and this week The Bachelorette proved that not even the coronavirus pandemic can stop these men rolling around in toxic dude bullshit like it’s a vat of store-brand canola oil and they need their pecs to glisten.
It worked because at no point, dear reader, did I worry that Tayshia was somehow being suckered. She knows exactly what she’s doing. She will keep you around, Chasen, because she knows what and who makes for good TV. She will make you shave your mustache. She will shove a fake baby in your arms and tell you to carry it until you’re given permission to do otherwise. She will stir the goddamn pot and make it look like she had nothing to do with it. It’s early days, but Tayshia is already a god-tier Bachelorette. And to top it all off, she actually ate food this week.
She did! She really did! On camera! And there was one thing she actually ate with her own two hands, rather than having it fed to her by a large shiny collection of muscles with a face!
The last episode ended before Tayshia’s second group date and therefore also before her first rose ceremony, which means in this episode we get a daytime group date, the evening portion of that date, a cocktail party, the rose ceremony, another daytime group date, and another evening after-date party. That means there’s a lot of booze. Tayshia drinks some of it.
absurd challenge designed to make the dudes bro out and flex and be idiots group date is the GROWN MAN CHALLENGE. Will this challenge separate the boys from the men? Or will it, perchance, make it pretty clear that most of them are infants? Tayshia eats food this episode, y’all, but we of the audience get a feast as well—today’s blue plate special is schadenfreude, and it is delicious.
The challenge begins with a pop quiz that Bennett up there just assumes he’s going to ace, because in case he had not mentioned it recently, he went to Harvard. (A bad night for Harvard, but a good one for Arizona State and the word “smokeshow.”) He does not ace it. It is wonderful. The wealth management guy is bad at math and can’t spell. It cleared up my skin and deep-conditioned my hair. The sight of Bennett’s uncertain rich guy face above his misspelled “limosine” added a full six months to my life expectancy and dramatically increased my credit score. He even blames his defeat on the phrasing of the questions, which is the Harvard equivalent of immediately whiffing it on a pinball machine and then saying it’s because it’s broken. Now, if he had misspelled “Kia Sorento” I might understand, but surely one is required to know how to correctly spell limousine before attending Harvard. How else would one know how to get back and forth from the dormitory to the dining hall? It’s wonderful. 12/10, would highly recommend.
The second portion of this date is like a modified tug of war, and it is only significant in that it marks the first time we hear Chasen refer to Ed’s legs as “chicken legs.” This is important because a) it’s one of the phrases Chasen says over and over again in this episode, and b) it’s something I’d normally be saving for the “what didn’t the Bachelorette eat this week” section, but as we have been spoiled with a wealth of riches, I can let it slide.
The third and most significant portion, for our purposes and the episode’s, is the “breakfast in bed” portion. First, it lays the groundwork for the deeply stupid and therefore entertaining bro rivalries that will dominate this episode. There’s Chasen vs. Bennett, both insisting that the other is not a real man because he took off his shirt. (Both make those assertions whilst shirtless themselves, naturally; is it possible that for one night only The Bachelorette was the best show on television?) Then there’s Chasen vs. Ed, which later becomes Chasen vs. Ed and Bennett and whoever that boy band manager is, and that later evolves into Noah and his mustache vs. everyone. But most importantly, it is just so weird and dumb! Are they “cooking” out of the leftovers from a continental breakfast?
God bless the La Quinta Travel Lodge And Talking Baby Doll Emporium for making this show get so weird. They’re all going to go stir crazy, and won’t that make for great TV? That slow descent into insanity starts now, because as mentioned above, Tayshia knows what she’s doing, and Bennett wins the Grown-Ass Man Challenge for feeding her a beignet while wearing a bathrobe, thus infuriating all the other Grown-Ass Men. Ed, on the other hand, gets the Manchild award, meaning for the rest of the episode, as he stirs up drama, he’s clutching a baby doll that sometimes cries.
Anyway, we don’t see Tayshia eat most of this food, but we do see her eat a strawberry and that aforementioned bite of beignet. A huge win for us, not least because it results in Ed and Chasen having an absurdly enjoyable reality TV argument that reaches its zenith when Ed says something like “get out of here with your shmedium shirt,” and Chasen responds with (again, paraphrasing, but barely), “Nah this is a LARGE shirt brah, a LARGE shirt, come AT me.” Are you not entertained?!
Okay, yes, the one who looks like the plastic bag kid from American Beauty also fed her the popsicle, but this happened first and it is notable because she ate food she picked up herself and that never happens. This is a part of the pre-rose ceremony cocktail party. So is this:
That’s Ivan. Tayshia seems to really like Ivan, and Brendan, and Handsome Zac The New Jersey Addiction Specialist Who Actually Acts Like An Adult. But we’re here for the mess, not the people who seem relatively normal by reality show standards, so later, Ivan.
We’ll come back to this one.
Canola oil and one meal that actually looks great.
We get only fleeting glimpses of this feast, because Dr. Joe is getting far too little screentime, despite the fact that he’s dropping gems left and right. I’m a solid 90% sure that that’s bibimbap, but even if it isn’t, it looks great. He also cites his All State High School Volleyball recognition to explain why the actual professional athletes don’t scare him and his smack talk in the soon-to-follow wrestling date is basically, “you seem like a really nice person with strong muscles, I am shouting that at you!” 10s across the board. Tayshia, consider going full Clare and just marrying this man on the spot. Not one of those shitty breakfast buffet meals looks even a tenth as good as that one.
During the rose ceremony, Tayshia sends three dudes I’ve honest to god never seen before packing. Moving on.
excuse to get a bunch of men with pandemic brain to pound on each other in boxer-briefs date involves all the men pounding on each other in boxer briefs. Tayshia oils them up first with a ketchup bottle full of canola oil. They fight. It’s stupid. But there are two important points here:
1. Wow, Chasen must have pissed off a producer or something, and I am not mad about it
I’m not sure the last time I saw an edit this giddily merciless on a reality show. In season five of RuPaul’s Drag Race, there was a queen named Serena ChaCha who would not shut up about going to NYU and being a performance artist and the edit was just brutal, in the best way. This is that all over again. Honestly, if you don’t watch the show, it might be worth it to watch this episode, just to listen to this butthole say “smokeshow” over and over again. Chasen has real Sarah Palin energy, in that he’s just constantly saying dumb shit that doesn’t make any sense while convinced that it does. The crowning moment is when Chris Harrison says winning the wrestling match means “precious time with Tayshia,” and then there’s a cut to Chasen repeating Harrison word for word and acting like he just came up with it himself. It’s exquisite.
2. Noah and his mustache are not here to make friends
combined desire not to get his ass kicked on national television and a rational fear of toxic bros who want to fight two injured shoulders, Ed bails out of the inevitable Chasen/Ed cagematch, leading a bewildered Chris Harrison to take volunteers from the audience, the audience being all the guys who aren’t on this date. That’s when Noah of Noah’s Mustache fame hops the fence, gets canola’d, and proceeds to lose a wrestling match. All the other men are mad about it (um, Chris Harrison asked for a volunteer, y’all) but Tayshia is not and invites Noah to join in on the evening portion of the date.
Then she tells him to shave his mustache off. So he brings her a razor and she does it for him, on a bench at the La Quinta Extended Stay Palace, without water or shaving cream or, like, decent lighting or anything. And then he kisses her, again, right after she shaved off his mustache.
And that’s the story of how Bachelorette Tayshia Adams ate mustache shavings. There’s no way she didn’t. There was hair all over that guy’s face. Big mouth full of mustache hair. But at least she’s also drunk with power.
Listen, it should be Dr. Joe. But this guy literally shaved his whole personality off his face for Tayshia, who responded by telling him that he now looked “sorta hot,” and then he said “so what was I before?!” and she just didn’t answer.
See you next week. And remember, if your week starts to head south, you can always just look at that picture of Bennett with “LIMOSINE” again. Lifts my spirits right away.